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"There is such a high demand for knowledge from North Korea," says Baek. "It almost incentivises people to tell exaggerated tales to the media, especially if that comes with nice pay cheque. A lot of defectors who don't want to be in the media are very critical of 'career defectors'. It's worth keeping this in mind." Information from official North Korean sources, on the other hand, is liable to be pure propaganda. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (centre) inspecting the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army at an undisclosed location on August 14, 2017. PHOTO | KCNA | AFP To begin with, buoyed by a sense of patriotism and collective endeavour, the 17-year-old Lee So Yeon enjoyed her life in the army. She was impressed with her allocated hairdryer, although infrequent electricity meant she had little use for it. Daily routines for men and women were roughly the same. Women tended to have slightly shorter physical training regimes - but they were also required to perform daily chores such as cleaning, and cooking that male soldiers were exempted from. "North Korea is a traditional male-dominated society and traditional gender roles remain," says Juliette Morillot, author of North Korea in 100 questions, published in French. "Women are still seen ttukong unjeongsu, which literally translates as 'cooking pot lid drivers', and means that they should 'stay in the kitchen where they belong'." The hard training and dwindling food rations took their toll on bodies of Lee So Yeon and her fellow recruits.
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32 Chinese, four locals killed in North Korea bus accident By Reuters |Published Mon, April 23rd 2018 at 09:49, Updated April 23rd 2018 at 12:11 GMT +3 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang answers questions about a major bus accident in North Korea, during a news conference in Beijing, China on April 23, 2018. [Photo by Reuters] Chinese tourists have been involved in a major bus accident in North Korea that caused a large number of casualties, China’s state media and the government said on Monday, without giving a precise break-up. Chinese visitors account for about 80 percent of all foreign tourists to North Korea, says a South Korean think-tank, the Korea Maritime Institute, which estimates that tourism generates about $44 million each year in revenue for the isolated country. Chinese diplomats have rushed to the scene of Sunday’s accident in North Hwanghae province, the foreign ministry said. In a Twitter message earlier on Monday, Chinese state television’s English-language channel said a tour bus had fallen off a bridge, killing more than 30 people, but later deleted the message. State television’s main Chinese-language news channel later showed images of a crashed blue bus with its wheels in the air, in footage taken in pouring rain in the dark. It showed at least one person being treated in hospital, but also gave no details of casualties. The North Hwanghae province that borders South Korea is home to Kaesong, an ancient Korean capital thronged by tourists. North Korea is a popular, if offbeat, tourist destination for Chinese, especially those from the country’s northeast. China said more than 237,000 Chinese visited in 2012, but stopped publishing the figures in 2013.
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